This Stolen Laptop Will Self Destruct in 5 Seconds

Dennis Faas's picture

The crusade to combat data theft has produced a recent technology which was only previously seen in movies. Those interested in protecting sensitive data can now turn to software which erases files from a remote location, or by using a chemical that physically destroys a hard drive.

Absolute Software's "Computrace LoJack for Laptops" can ask the company to wipe out files from a hard drive the next time a computer connects to the Internet. In a process which takes anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, random information overwrites the computer's data several times, rendering the original files unrecoverable. (Source:

Alternatively, users can also opt to have files automatically deleted if an incorrect password is entered too many times. Beachhead Solutions Inc. has recently put together software which deletes files if a user hasn't logged onto a computer in a set period of time, or if a password has been entered incorrectly too many times. (Source:

Ensconce Data Technologies is taking a more physical approach to protecting data. The company is currently developing a chemical mist that is hidden near the platter of hard drives. If a warning signal is activated (i.e. if the computer is tampered with), the mist is released over the platter, destroying the media layer by layer. (Source:

Remote-kill and self-destructing features have generally been geared towards large businesses such as banks, and military contractors. However, it is becoming increasingly available to small businesses and individuals who are also concerned about protecting important data. In addition to laptops, this technology is also being applied to PDA smart phones.

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